United Nations’ Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs releases US$5.5 million as relief package

After appreciating the destruction and suffering that was brought about due to effects of tropical cyclone Freddy, the United Nations’ Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs had released US$5.5 million as relief package for survivors.

Resident Coordinator for Malawi, Rebecca Adda-Dontoh visited some flood-affected areas of the Southern Region and is quoted in a statement as saying: “The destruction and suffering that I witnessed in southern Malawi is the human face of the global climate crisis.

UN Resident Coordinator for Malawi, Rebecca Adda-Dontoh

“The people I met with — many of whom have lost their homes and loved ones — have done nothing to cause this crisis. We, as the United Nations, stand in full solidarity with the people of Malawi at this tragic time and we call on the international community to do the same.”

The statement further says the assistance is from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) “as the devastating toll of floods and mudslides in the country’s Southern Region continues to rise.

In its report on Sunday, the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) in the office of the President & Cabinet said the number of the displaced people was at 490,098 with 533 camps set to accommodate the displaced.

The death toll rose from 447 to 476; with 918 injuries and the number of reported missing persons was at 349 from 282.

“DoDMA also reported that the Malawi Defence Force (MDF), the Malawi Police Service (MPS) and the United Kingdom search and rescue teams continue their operations.

The MDF — using two helicopters dispatched by the United Republic of Tanzania, is also airlifting relief items, medical supplies and personnel to places not accessible by road.

“The national interagency assessment team is on the ground supporting affected councils with assessments to establish the total number of affected people and their immediate needs.”

The UN also reports that some 75,000 hectares of cropland has been flooded, just as farmers were about to harvest the only crop of the year.

The figures are expected to rise in the days ahead as further information becomes available, especially in areas where people remain trapped by the flood waters and full information is not yet available.

“The Government of Malawi is leading the response, with support from humanitarian partners. More than 1,500 people have been rescued from isolated locations and, as flood waters begin to subside, assistance is being dispatched to the hardest-hit districts.

Adda-Dontoh is quoted as saying: “People are traumatized, and many have lost their homes, their belongings and their livelihoods. In support of the Government-led response, through this CERF grant, we will aim to assist those who have been hardest-hit with life-saving and life-sustaining assistance, including water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), shelter and vital non-food items, food, healthcare and prevention of gender-based violence and child protection risks.”

Southern Malawi was affected after Tropical Cyclone Freddy made its second landfall in Mozambique on March 11 and moved over land as a tropical depression, bringing torrential rainfall, devastating floods and mudslides to Malawi from March 12.

Malawi is also still facing its deadliest cholera outbreak in recent history, and there is a high risk that the disease could spread in flood-affected areas.

“The mission of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs is to coordinate the global emergency response to save lives and protect people in humanitarian crises.

“We advocate for effective and principled humanitarian action by all, for all,” said the statement.

Meanwhile, MultiChoice Africa — which has a large footprint across Africa providing quality content in the form of news, sport and entertainment — has partnered Gift of the Givers by donating R1 million (K58 million) towards disaster management for Malawi and Mozambique affected by the devastating Cyclone Freddy.

The aid has been channelled through Gift of the Givers — an organization with a firm presence in both countries — to be channelled towards food security and other necessities.

A statement said together with its partners, MultiChoice Malawi and MultiChoice Mozambique and employee volunteers will assist with the distribution of the aid.

It quotes MultiChoice Africa’s group executive corporate affairs & stakeholder relations, Dr. Keabetswe Modimoeng as saying: “Our hearts go out to the people of Malawi and Mozambique for the tragic losses they have suffered.

“This tragedy propelled us to make this humble contribution to support in whichever way is possible. With a long history of providing quality content in the form of news, sport, and entertainment to citizens in both countries, the company further emphasized its willingness to deepen collaboration with governments in markets where it operates.

“Our door remains open to finding solutions and contributing towards the upliftment and betterment of African lives particularly in such moments of great distress,” Modimoeng said.

Founder of Gift of the Givers, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman is quoted as saying: “The donation from MultiChoice Africa will go a long way towards the disaster management in Mozambique and Malawi.

“It is imperative that corporates such as MultiChoice Africa continue to work with governments and foundations when it comes to disaster relief. No-one is able to manage the tragic impact of the likes of Cyclone Freddy on their own, it is only when we come together that we can support communities.”

In its assessment report, DoDMA) further acknowledges that following the declaration of state of disaster by President Lazarus Chakwera, foreign missions, governments, local and international organizations, companies and individuals of goodwill continue providing various support towards the response operations.

DoDMA, while assuring the public that it will be regularly updating the general public on provision of assistance, usage and any related development, also reiterates that the affected people in clusters (sector working groups), require various relief items such as:

* Shelter (tarpaulin (4x6m), family tents/big tents; plastic sheet (120 micron), blankets, sleeping mats);

* Protection (clothes, lighting lamps, dignity kits);

* Heath (mosquito nets, mobile clinic services;

* Non-food items (plates, cups, pots);

* WASH (mobile toilets, water treatment chemicals, soap, buckets);

* Food & nutrition (maize/maize flour); corn soya blend, ready to use therapeutic food, cooking oil, pulses (beans, peas etc), soya pieces dry fish/kapenta, sugar, salt).

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